November 15

Graceworks Selected as DBJ Large Nonprofit of the Year Honoree

For the first time, Graceworks Lutheran Services entered the Dayton Business Journal, Business of the Year awards. Graceworks was selected as an honoree in the large nonprofit category. Premier Health and Wright-Patt Credit Union were also selected as honorees in this category. Below is the full nomination submitted by Graceworks and a few photos from the awards event held at the Schuster Center on November 7, 2019.

Describe the products and/or services this nominee provides.

Graceworks Lutheran Services is a nonprofit organization that provides residential housing, care, and services enhancing the lives of older adults and persons with disabilities in the tristate area. Graceworks is headquartered in Centerville, Ohio. Graceworks operates programs in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The organization has four service lines including Bethany Village, a large continuing care retirement community, Graceworks at Home that helps seniors in their own homes, Housing Services, which provides safe and comfortable apartments for low income or disabled adults, and Enhanced Living, which provides housing for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Graceworks is one of the largest employers in Montgomery County. Nearly 1,200 individuals work for Graceworks across all service lines. Over half work at Bethany Village, located in Centerville. Graceworks is an expert in providing care to older adults, touching the lives of over 2,000 persons and their families each year. This care cuts across income barriers and state lines: individuals may choose to live out their retirement at Bethany Village, or age-at home with the services of Graceworks at Home. Bethany Village provides an active and enriching lifestyle to over 350 independent seniors and provides care and services to those needing some support in assisted living, those in need of nursing home care, and provides high quality skilled nursing and therapy services to over 700 community persons at the Bethany Rehab Center. Lower income seniors find safe and comfortable housing through Graceworks Housing Services, which operates 18 HUD-subsidized apartment communities. Graceworks Enhanced Living operates more than 40 homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in four southern Ohio counties. Six of these homes are HUD-subsidized. Enhanced Living homes typically house six or fewer residents. Each resident has his or her own room. The residents live and interact as a family and conduct routine activities of daily life such as cooking, laundry and watching movies. The homes also go on weekly outings to local attractions, restaurants and often take a yearly vacation.

How has this nominee exceeded the expectations of employees, management and customers this year?

In the areas of customer satisfaction and regulatory performance, Graceworks consistently exceeds the industry benchmarks as evidenced by the Home Health Compare patient satisfaction scores, Ohio Department of Aging resident and family satisfaction scores, internal satisfaction scores of Bethany and Housing residents, results of employee pulse surveys, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reviews, Ohio Department of Health reviews, The Joint Commission review and the Ohio Department of  Disabilities.

At some Graceworks Housing Services locations, HUD has appointed a Project Based Contract Administrator to oversee properties. These administrators review policies and procedures from a compliance perspective. Graceworks has a 40-unit property in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It recently received the highest rating possible. The Lawrenceburg service coordinator was successful in obtaining a rating of superior in Appearance and Security, Monitoring from Project Inspections, Standard Maintenance and Operating Procedures, Tenant Services, and General Management Practices. Beyond this, the property also earned an Above Average rating in Leasing and Occupancy.

Other Housing Services properties also received superior ratings, including our apartment complexes in Columbus, Indiana and Madison, Indiana.

Beyond this, Housing Services is excelling overall in physical plant and operating conditions. The HUD Real Estate Assessment Center provides inspection of communities. A score of 90 or better means a complex is inspected once every three years. During 2018, Graceworks earned an average inspection rating of 95.89 out of 100.

Graceworks Enhanced Living provides safe homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Enhanced Living homes are evaluated by the State of Ohio for quality, safety and regulatory compliance. Our most recent Ohio Department of Disabilities licensure survey was at our Mt. Healthy (Cincinnati area) home in May. The result was a perfect survey with no citations. Our most recent Ohio Department of Health Medicaid survey was at the Kemper Meadow (Cincinnati area) home in April. The result was also a perfect survey with no citations.

The mission of Graceworks is to deliver a sense of home to our residents and clients. Testimonials are the best example of our success and may come in the form of letters or online reviews. One family recently left a testimonial of Bethany Village employees in the obituary of a beloved relative. A portion of the obituary reads “…The staff were truly exceptional and we extend the warmest and most sincere appreciation to all those who faithfully, patiently and lovingly care for her. Unless you have walked in the shoes of family members of loved ones in nursing homes, you (Bethany staff) have no idea how greatly your exceptional care lessened the stress of this journey.”

The praise is not limited to Bethany Village. Recently a man named Robert called the Graceworks switchboard and wanted to praise the staff of Lutheran Community, part of Graceworks Housing Services. Robert said, “Shannon DeDreu is the brightest star in your operation,” and “My grandmother is practically blind. Shannon goes into her apartment and helps her with her mail” plus “Please do this old man a favor and make sure you express my family’s appreciation for all that Shannon is doing.”

Graceworks at Home employees are often a lifeline for those who need care and for the family members that love them. When Robert Kenley needed professional home health care while recovering from knee replacement, his wife Belinda invited Graceworks at Home to visit while she worked. Later, after he battled a life-threatening infection and a 10-day hospital stay, they were impressed with the attentiveness of his Graceworks at Home registered nurse Anna Clary and therapist Gwynne Gephart. “We loved Anna and the other caregivers who helped us out,” says Belinda. “Anna in particular stayed in touch long after [care was done] to make sure he was doing okay. She really has become a friend because of the care and kindness she showed Robert during his illness. She’s amazing.” 

One Graceworks at Home caregiver has a never-ending game of chess going with a client! Aide Denver Aquino cares for Carl Lehman five days a week. Before his shift ends, Denver always takes a photo of the chessboard from the day’s game. The next day, Denver sets the board up again, just as it was, so the game can continue. Mr. Lehman is a physician and enjoys the cognitive challenge of chess. Denver always gives him a run for his money!

How has this nominee outshined the competition this year?

Graceworks is having a stellar year with the completion of Crescent Crossing assisted living at Bethany Village, the opening of three new Enhanced Living Homes and the launch of an Employee Resource Network (ERN) to support employees.

Soaring to Success is the first ERN in southern Ohio. Graceworks collaborated with three other local organizations to launch the ERN during Q2. The main component of the ERN is a Success Coach who works onsite several days a week to help employees navigate challenges in their daily lives. Some issues the Success Coach may support include sourcing childcare, homelessness prevention, legal assistance and transportation issues. The goal of the ERN and the Success Coach is to help with employee retention and increase work/life balance for staff members.

The Memorial Day tornado outbreak was the first day of work for the Graceworks Success Coach. She jumped right into her new role and helped more than a dozen Graceworks employees directly impacted by the tornadoes. Some of these employees faced total destruction of their homes. The Success Coach was able to source emergency shelter and food options and work with the employees on longer term solutions. To ease the burden of the severe weather impact on all employees, human resources waived late punches and missed days of work for all employees in the immediate aftermath of the storm. This encouraged family members to help impacted family members and neighbors.  

Also in Q2, Graceworks entered into a new partnership with Day Air Credit Union. This partnership allows employees who choose a membership with Day Air to enjoy access to discounted loan rates, higher savings rates and discounted fees.

Employees may also access life assistance loans through Day Air. These small dollar loans will provide Graceworks employees access to needed funds without falling prey to predatory lenders. The Success Coach will counsel employees on the loans and determine if there is a real need to borrow money.

The completion of Crescent Crossing Assisted Living at Bethany Village contributed significantly to the Montgomery County, Ohio economy. After the building opened, Bethany scaled to the extra suites and more residents on campus by adding 60 employees to support the building through nursing, food service and housekeeping.

Crescent Crossing construction continued through the entirety of 2018. Bethany Village spent over $40 million on the expansion, injecting significant resources into the local economy. During the same timeframe, Bethany expanded the Fitness Center, renovated a dining room and kitchen in an apartment building and launched the renovation of the Pavilion Memory Care assisted living building. Providing services to the residents without interruption

Graceworks Enhanced Living is the provider of choice for care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In fact, Graceworks Enhanced Living is the largest operator of group homes in Montgomery County. Graceworks Enhanced Living also operates lively day habilitation programs in Montgomery and Hamilton counties. These programs are for Graceworks residents as well as community members who would like a respite during the day to have a place to learn, have fun and make friends. In 2019, Enhanced Living will open new homes in Montgomery, Hamilton and Greene Counties.

A Graceworks Housing Services community in Urbana teamed up with the local high school’s DECA program to help senior residents learn new technology. The program, called Techy Teens/Savvy Seniors pairs students with seniors. The seniors learn how to use their mobile devices and other tech plus also how to create and maintain social media accounts. The students learn valuable skills such as teaching, teamwork and patience. Each Housing Services community features a service coordinator who helps residents navigate daily challenges and identifies ways residents can save money. During 2018, Graceworks service coordinators saved residents $1.4 million dollars. Such programs are unavailable in other HUD communities.

During the completion of Crescent Crossing assisted living and grand opening activities, Graceworks was also in the middle of a significant leadership change. Longtime President & CEO Bill Serr announced his intention to retire during the fall of 2018. Serr gave the board of directors and executive team six months’ notice. Immediately the board initiated their succession plan and launched a nationwide search for a new CEO. There was no impact to business during the transition.

Judy Budi, a longtime Graceworks employee, was announced as the new CEO on January 15, 2019. She was installed in early March after working closely with Serr during a six-week transitionary period. Budi’s inaugural day as CEO coincided with the first residents moving into Crescent Crossing assisted living.

What awards or recognition has the nominee received this year?

During the most recent Ohio Department of Aging nursing home family satisfaction survey, Bethany Village scored 82.6 overall. The state average for nursing facilities is 77.8. The satisfaction survey compares facilities on care and services, caregivers, environment, facility culture, meals and more. Bethany scored highest in questions regarding our caregivers and culture. This means residents and their family’s agree that Bethany Village is fulfilling its mission of faithful caring.

The City of Centerville named Graceworks the 2019 Large Business of the Year.

Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton discussed Graceworks and the organization’s positive economic and community impact on Centerville and the surrounding regionHe explained how Graceworks aims to create stability in the lives of residents and clients.

LeadingAge Ohio named Bethany Village a Silver level Employer of Choice for 2018-2019. This program recognizes outstanding efforts in the area of recruitment and retention and human resource management. To support the opening of Crescent Crossing, Bethany Village employment grew by 9% during 2018.

LeadingAge Ohio recognized Bethany Village LPN Artie Taylor for exemplary service in nursing, especially her ongoing commitment to resident care in the dementia field. Artie runs the memory support unit at Bethany Village called Courtyard Park that opened in 2009. Artie is a 22-year veteran of Bethany Village and was promoted to unit manager in 2009. Nearly all staff at Courtyard Park have been with Artie since the opening in 2009, unheard of in healthcare settings.

Report revenue and profit for the past two years – will be kept confidential if provided, not required to entire (required for nonprofit).

Financials for 2018 (all numbers expressed in thousands):

Revenue $69,132
Expense $74,111

Community impact:

Graceworks Lutheran Services supports individuals facing challenging and changing circumstances. Though our residential and community care services, we provided over $5.4 million dollars of uncompensated charity care not reimbursed by user fees or government funding.

Financials for 2017 (all numbers expressed in thousands):

Revenue $68,805
Expense: $71,647

Community impact:

Through our residential and community care services, we provided over $4.5 million dollars of uncompensated charity care not reimbursed by user fees or government funding.

Tell the judges anything else you think they should know about the nominee.

Judy A. Budi was promoted to Graceworks President & CEO on March 3, 2019. She is the first woman to hold the role in the organization’s 90+ year history.

Graceworks continues to grow. Bethany Village is currently in the middle of a significant renovation of some older assisted living rooms, transforming them into larger, modern assisted living-memory care units. Called Pavilion assisted living, these updated rooms will feature more space, light colors and modern touches plus amenities to keep those individuals with memory issues safe.

Bethany Village enjoys high satisfaction from residents and top survey results from the Ohio Department of Health. The Bethany Rehabilitation Center (BRC) is the number one post-acute discharge location from the two largest hospitals in the Dayton region.

Graceworks at Home anticipates growth in home care services. According to the 2010 census, 25% of Centerville residents are over age 65. These citizens will need support to continue to live at home.